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2015 Moving Migration Patterns - Northern Exposure, Southern Charm


2015 Migration Patterns map

Migration numbers reveal interesting patterns.

From January through December 2015, Atlas Van Lines in the U.S. and Canada ​performed 77,705 household goods moves between states, provinces, and across the border. In general, the mosaic pattern of migration trends shows compasses pointing south, with a few exceptions.

The provinces appear largely outbound, an exodus slightly tempered by Newfoundland’s and Nova Scotia’s climbs into the balanced category. The picture is similar for the U.S., with outbound status predominating the northern tier of the lower 48 states. The exceptions: a cluster of inbound states in the northwest (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho), as well as North Dakota (north central), and Maine and Rhode Island (northeast). Overall, New England “straddles the migration fence” with two states each among inbound, outbound, and balanced groupings.

The red belt across the nation’s midsection shows a wide tendency toward balance. However, a crescent of four states—North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida—accompanies Texas in the inbound column. Among the southern continental states, Louisiana bears the outbound label, a distinction shared by the Aloha State.

State Status Changes

States that appeared to gain residents this year include Alabama, Alaska, Maine and Rhode Island, which all went from balanced to inbound. Missouri gained as well, going from outbound to balanced and finishing a decade with equal shares of time in both categories.

Attrition was evident in Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Wisconsin—all went from balanced to outbound. Mississippi, New Hampshire, and the perennially inbound Washington, D.C., all slipped from inbound to balanced status.

A handful of states are lodged firmly in a migratory trend. Arizona, Arkansas, California, and South Carolina have each appeared in the balanced column for the last ten or more consecutive years. Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio can make the same claim in the outbound column. The magnetism is apparently strongest in North Carolina and Texas; each boasts ten or more years of consecutive inbound status.

In regard to total move volume, California ranks first among states with 14,973 moves;  Hawaii ranks last with 171. Ontario leads the provinces with 1,325 moves, while Yukon saw no moves in or out.

Determining Status

A state is classified as inbound when moves into the state account for more than 55% of total shipments. Outbound status indicates more than 55% of total shipments moved out of the state. When a state is neither inbound nor outbound, it is considered balanced.


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